Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Keeping Pa. Clean Believe It: The EPA Will Be Diminished. That Means Pennsylvania Needs the Dep to Step Up Its Game, Warnsnadia Steinzor

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Keeping Pa. Clean Believe It: The EPA Will Be Diminished. That Means Pennsylvania Needs the Dep to Step Up Its Game, Warnsnadia Steinzor

Article excerpt

As Pennsylvania considers requiring the oil and gas industry to plug its leaks to better protect air quality, the Trump administration is proposing to slash the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's budget by 25 percent.

If ever there was a time for Pennsylvania's lawmakers and regulators to step up and safeguard Pennsylvanians' health and the environment, it is now.

In-depth research by Earthworks on natural gas processing and compression facilities in southwestern Pennsylvania, including infrared videos and air testing at nearby homes, shows that these facilities pollute the air with methane and dozens of chemicals associated with asthma, headaches, cancer, neurological changes and other health problems.

This same research, carried out over most of 2016, also reveals that oil and gas facility operators methodically "game" their permit applications to avoid sections of the federal Clean Air Act that better protect communities from major air pollution sources. Making matters worse, it appears that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection often looks the other way, rather than implementing the Clean Air Act as it was intended: to minimize pollution and protect public health.

The DEP's neglect could potentially be deliberate, given the constant political pressure to allow the industry to expand. It could also be linked to severe cuts in the DEP's budget, which have sent the agency's appropriations back to 1990s levels even as gas production has increased 30 times since then. Last month, the EPA warned the DEP that it lacks sufficient staff and resources to safeguard drinking water. It's only logical to assume that the same problem plagues the DEP's air program.

Caught in these trends are the communities surrounded by a growing spider web of industrial oil and gas operations and worsening air quality. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.